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Posts Tagged ‘gannett’

How To Avoid Getting Fired For Your Blog

When I started blogging about journalism, I did so at the urging of a hiring editor (who didn’t, ultimately, hire me but did inspire me). I had all these great digital skills, she told me, but she asked why had I presented her with carbon-based clips (i.e. paper) instead of a URL. I left the job fair and put the years of web design experience I’d been amassing to good work, and by the end of the weekend had built myself a website with clips, a resume, a bio and a blog about, what else, journalism and my place in the evolving industry.

That was a few months before my college graduation. And after putting so much work into the blog, I proudly stamped the URL on my resume and included it in my cover letters to prospective employers. To be honest, the blog’s inclusion wasn’t so much a way to show off my work as to cover my ass. When I interviewed for jobs, I discussed it. When I was hired, I searched the employee handbook and intranet for information about personal blogs. Soon after I arrived, I sat down with the executive editor and we discussed it. See, what kept me up late at night wasn’t the prospect of graduating without a job, but rather I did not want one of those editors to plug my name in Google and come across my blog, assuming I had hid or was hiding it.

I had flashbacks to that period and those decisions when I heard the story of Khristopher Brooks, who was fired this week from the job he hadn’t yet started because of the way he announced his new job on his tumblr blog. Brooks did a silly thing, but in my opinion, the folks he thought would soon be his new bosses did an even sillier one. (In my honest opinion, I think they come off looking out-of-touch and overly cautious for a news organization currently force-feeding its employees the “digital first!” company line, and he comes off probably having dodged a bullet.)

Here’s what got Brooks fired, and then, here’s my been-there-done-that advice on how to not get fired for your personal journalism blog.
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Gannett Latest Newspaper Chain To Put Up Paywalls

R.I.P. unlimited free online news. Possibly for real this time (at least from newspapers). The nation’s largest newspaper chain is said to be planning a  roll out of its paid model by the end of this year.

Forbes is reporting Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper chain, which controls more than 80 newspapers around the country from small community papers to USA Today, apparently has plans to switch over its community papers to a tiered pay model this year. (One notable exception: USA Today.) The switch to a tiered paywall — where the first few stories per month are free — comes amid a renewed emphasis on digital-first news gathering, which has included handing out thousands of iPhones and iPads to news staffers at various properties.

From Forbes:

Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, is planning to switch over all of its 80 community newspapers to a paid model by the end of the year, it announced during an investor day held in Manhattan Wednesday.

“We will begin to restrict some access to non-subscribers,” said Bob Dickey, president of community publishing. The model is similar to the metered system adopted by The New York Times a year ago, in which online readers are able to view a limited number of pages for free each month. That quota will be between five and 15 articles, depending on the paper, said Dickey. Six Gannett papers already have a digital pay regimen in place.

This news is hardly unexpected. Not only are other major newspapers and outlets heading in this direction, but Gannett itself has been toying with this model at some of its properties for some time and started actively testing this tiered model this month.

Jim Romenesko posted the paywall FAQ customers of those test sites received in January. According to that, subscribers continue to have unfettered access to all content on all platforms.

Some Gannett Papers Test Facebook Comments, Ban Anonymous Posts

Peter Steiner's New Yorker cartoon from 1993.

The old adage, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog,” may hold less true soon, at least on some newspaper sites. Gannett Blog reports that some of the large chain’s U.S. papers are moving to force commenters to use their Facebook accounts to post comments instead of stand behind their anonymous user names.

This is, apparently, being tested in two Gannett markets:

  • Fort Myers News-Press: “When I am out in the community I can always count on one question: Why do you allow people to be anonymous when they comment online? Starting later this week we won’t on the stories that appear online. We will be one of two newspapers in our company to test Facebook comments. We will test it for 60 days and evaluate the results.”
  • Des Moines Register: “Starting late Wednesday, Facebook comments will replace our existing commenting system. You will have to have a Facebook account to comment, which will eliminate use of anonymous screen names.”

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